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Cheers - AE

Friday, 3 December 2010

Dodged that bullet.

Aw, shame.
Australia received a single solitary vote and was the first nation eliminated in the fight for the right to host the 2022 World Cup. It ended up being a fourth-round battle between Qatar and the United States with the Middle Eastern nation winning 14-8.
Goodoh. That means the Qataris pay for it and not us. In Victoria we spunk away millions every fucking year on hosting the Grand Prix alone, and despite being a motor racing fan I bloody object to that. The soccer World Cup? You can bloody keep it.

And it's also bad news for British fans, though good news for their wallets.
There's a very strong suggestion that England was eliminated in the first round of voting for the 2018 tournament. Serious questions will be asked. Did yesterday's crowd violence in the Birmingham-Aston Villa EPL match have any late impact on voting? What about the BBC program?
Who'd have thought it. A bunch of fighty fans and the BBC may have combined to save the country a lot of money. I mean, what the fuck were they thinking when they bid for the bloody thing anyway? Were they expecting to fund it with the huge profits they're going to make from the Olympics?

Profit? In your dreams, buddy.

Look, I like watching sport. No, in fact I love it and there aren't many things I won't watch (soccer is one of them as it happens). But let's get the principle of the money sorted out once and for all - it is not the job of a government, whether state or federal/national, to act as a fucking sports promoter, okay? It's simply not a government function. By all means talk it up and support it verbally but do not, repeat do fucking not, go putting your sticky fucking mitts into taxpayers pockets to pay for it.

And there's a reason for that. Aside from not unnecessarily separating taxpayers from yet more of their hard earned, which incidentally is reason enough on it's own, what do you think happens when sport thinks it has a practically endless pool of money to dive into courtesy of its good friends in government? It fucking gets more expensive, of course. Again, take the Melbourne Grand Prix or the London Olympics as an example. Do they actually have to cost as much to stage as the governments have to fork over, and if it they do is it worth it? If the answer to both is yes then surely it should be no great challenge to persuade all the private enterprises who benefit from it to chip in instead of robbing everyone from fucking Mildura to Mallacoota to pay for a Melbourne event and Land's End to John O' Groats to fund a London event. And when something is funded with private money value is sought after and normally got, because otherwise the money will stop flowing. However, the fact that Britain has been struggling to get private money in to cover even the minority of Olympic costs that weren't planned to be met willing or otherwise by the taxpayer does rather suggest the answer is in fact no.

As I said, I like watching sport. I'll watch the London Olympics and the Melbourne Grand Prix - I've even paid to go a couple of times - but I'm in it for the sport, not for all the bullshit presentation and pomp that goes with it and that drives the costs up to the point that often only governments, with their ability to rob whole populations en masse, can fucking afford to pay for it. What's needed is a reality check for sporting bodies such as the IOC, FIFA, IRB, FIA and anyone else from the alphabetti spaghetti gang. What's needed is for the bids from governments to host these increasingly lavish and costly events to dwindle away to the point that the sporting bodies have to tone down their expectations for huge opening ceremonies with twenty thousand performers doing something culturally significant yet also utterly mystifying followed by enough fireworks to make the Americans think another war has started, and approach private investors who'll actually expect a more tangible ROI than, "It'll be a great opportunity to showcase the city/state/country".

Normally I'd finish off this kind of rant with some comment to the effect that I'm pretty pessimistic about the chances of this actually happening, but also in the sports news this morning is something that holds out a slim ray of hope that this might be beginning. The Victorian taxpayers' regular contributions to Tiger Woods' ex-wife's lawyer's bank balance has also been an occasional topic of froth spitting rage on these pages, and happily that's going to stop.
THE Tiger Woods gravy train in Melbourne appears to have been derailed by the new state government.

Woods's appearance in the Australian Masters, the tournament he has single-handedly reinvigorated in the past two years, is in doubt because Premier-elect Ted Baillieu said the government would not fund a visit by the world's most famous golfer.

The Brumby government - through its Victorian Major Events Corporation - contributed about $1.5 million in each of the past two years towards a $3 million appearance fee for Woods, which was slightly below the standard rate.

But Baillieu has previously said that a Coalition government would not countenance the payment of a fee, and he repeated it yesterday.
And fucking right too. I don't care one way or the other about the dick swinging stick swinger or whether he comes to Melbourne to play a few holes, or even some golf. But the cost of persuading him to stop having sex long enough to get on a plane and compete here should be borne by those who actually want him, and if he's priced himself out of the market that's up to him. Needless to say I'm quite pleased about this. I was glad to see the back of the Labor state government but naturally I didn't expect to be any fan of the replacement. I'm not eating my words here but I am having a small nibble on the corner of one letter. Credit where it's due, Ted Baillieu is spot on here, and I hope it sets a trend of pollies and governments refusing to further enrich already wealthy sportspeople and bodies.

As a result I'm creating a new tag: "Politicians getting things right for a change". It probably isn't going to see an awful lot of use, but let's hope I'm wrong about that too.
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